A crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning.
One January morning I woke expecting to see the same dreary midwinter landscape that had greeted me for several weeks: beige grass poking through patches of snow, gray skies, and skeletal trees. Something unusual had happened overnight, though. A frost had coated everything with ice crystals. The lifeless and depressing landscape had become a beautiful scene that glistened in the sun and dazzled me.
Sometimes we view problems without the imagination it takes to have faith. We expect pain, fear, and despair to greet us every morning, but overlook the possibility of something different ever happening. We don’t expect recovery, growth, or victory through God’s power. Yet the Bible says God is the one who helps us through difficult times. He repairs broken hearts and liberates people in bondage. He comforts the grieving with “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3).
It isn’t that God just wants to cheer us up when we have problems. It’s that He Himself is our hope during trials. Even if we have to wait for heaven to find ultimate relief, God is present with us, encouraging us and often giving us glimpses of Himself. In our journey through life, may we come to understand St. Augustine’s words: “In my deepest wound I saw your glory, and it dazzled me.”
Reflect & Pray
How can you turn to God when you’re in trouble? What rewards can come from this practice?
Faithful God, give me the faith I need to make it through today and help me to see You at work as I face adversity.